Earlier this week, Pennsylvania state Senator Vincent Hughes and actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes hosted a town hall conversation to explore challenges faced by black women and girls against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Panelists included Terry O’Neill, Dr. Jacqueline Jackson, Faatimah Gamble, Rev. Bonnie Camarda, Nurit Shein, Laniece Williams, Shaleah Lache Sutton, Feminista Jones and Carol Tracy.
The Women’s Law Project was proud to be a part of this incredible conversation, which was insightful, informative and, at times, enraging. Most of all though, it was inspiring. The conversation addressed the #BlackLivesMatter movement, of course, as well as #SayHerName. We talked about erasure of Black girls from the conversation about the criminalization of black youth, and how if you add a gender lens on the school-to-prison pipeline, it looks like a sexual-abuse-to-prison pipeline.
Women spoke of the unique burden carried by many women of color who suffer sexual or physical abuse in the home; their suffering is complicated by a mistrust of the police and reluctance to push another community member into the criminal justice system. We listened while Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes told the audience that when she listens to politicians talk, she often hears them taking the vote of Black women—the most reliable voting bloc in America—for granted.
Take a look at this recap of the event on Storify here.